Magic, Magic, Magic: Watching ‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’

I figured The House with a Clock in Its Walls would be a fitting re-entry into my science fiction-fantasy obsessions after a three-week hiatus. I was definitely right. From a story perspective, it followed a typical plot arc. Orphaned kid is sent to a wild house, learns his eccentric uncle isn’t what he seems, teams up with said uncle and a refined neighbor to save the world. It wasn’t the story that stuck out to me, but the flawless visual execution of magic. I was transfixed by the magical world within the house. My favorite things:

  1. Cate Blanchett can do no wrong in my mind. She twitches her eyes and conveys so much raw emotion that you just sit in awe of her brilliance. I’ve seen most of her movies and am just floored at her ability to inhabit any character.
  2. The house itself is a fascinating character. It shifts and moves around its inhabitants, filled with dark mysteries and playful behaviors. Windows adjust their designs, paintings become televisions, and chairs are alive. Think Beauty and the Beast without the curse of an old witch and an underlying sadness that innocent working-class bystanders became furniture thanks to the selfishness of French nobility. But that’s another story.
  3. Most unique is how one acquires magical abilities. In most magical worlds, witches and warlocks are born with an innate magical gift that they hone through practice and the teachings of wise, old wizards. In this world, you learn from thousands of ancient books written in obscure languages. Anyone can learn, and that makes the magic more enchanting, in my eyes. It takes the elitism out of magic (see the Death Eaters’ opinions of Muggles for reference).
  4. Though the title and trailer promises endless amounts of ticking, it was bearable. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a Captain Hook when it comes to clocks. I don’t own ticking clocks and I’ve been known to remove wall clocks and wristwatches from a room when trying to sleep. It’s a little thing but hey, I appreciated it.
  5. The solar system scene around the middle of the film was breathtaking. It was a brilliant bit of CGI and felt like a real turning point for the young boy learning to become a warlock.
  6. The evil pumpkins were also a delightful bit of horror thrown into an otherwise tame scary movie. I’ve never understood why I enjoy anthropomorphic pumpkins, but I do.

It’s clear there may be sequels made in this world, given the ending and the bare usage of a friend character who showed up near the end. I’m not sure if those will actually happen, but if they do, I look forward to revisiting the world of The House With a Clock in its Walls.

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Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

Author: Jacob Olson

Writing about science fiction and fantasy at! I write reviews on novels, short stories, television, movies, etc. and throw in a few articles and thoughts as well.